Atlantis Reloaded - Richat structure and the Jimmy Corsetti mistake

Is the Richat structure the location of the fabled city of Atlantis? According to Jimmy Corsetti, it might be the case.

The Atlantis story may be one of the myths that have inspired numerous theories and speculations. But what happens if we apply a scientific approach to the story told by Plato in his works Timeaus and Critias? We open up the archaeologist's toolbox and a historical approach to the literary works of Plato. How does Plato's story hold up, and was he really trying to give us a literal account from a philosophical perspective?

While the Atlantis story has inspired writers such as Graham Hancock and David Childress, a new name has recently gotten much attention. Jimmy Corsetti is one of these personalities who claim to have found the actual location of this legendary city. According to Corsetti, the location is a location called the Richat structure. Is this true? What evidence can we find for and against this, and how well does this theory hold up in the end?

In Digging up Ancient Aliens, our host Fredrik uses his background in archaeology to discover what is genuine, fake, and somewhere in between in popular media, such as Ancient Aliens, Ancient Apocalypse, and many other places.

In this episode:

Historical Sources 3:52

Platos intent 12:06

What about Solon? 20:50

Inspiration for Atlantis 24:55

The Jimmy Corsetti Mistake 32:08

Sea levels, land rise, and geography 41:24

Archaeology in the Richat Structure 47:57

Sources, resources and further reading suggestions

Hi, hello, and välkommen to Digging Up Ancient Aliens. This is the podcast where we examine strange claims about alternative history and ancient aliens in popular media. Do their claims hold water to an archeologist, or are there better explanations out there? 

This is episode 41, and I'm your host, Fredrik. This time we will dive deeply into the Atlantis lore and meet a new personality. I hope this is the Atlantis episode to end all future episodes, but I doubt this will be the case. But we will look into whether Plato was trying to tell a historical account of Atlantis or if he had a different agenda. 

We will also review the claims made by Jimmy Corsetti, also known as "Brightinsight6" on YouTube, that a geological formation called the Richat structure is the location of Atlantis. 

Remember that you can find sources, resources, and reading suggestions on our website, There you also find contact info if you notice any mistakes or have any suggestions. And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate it if you left one of those fancy five-star reviews I've heard so much about. 

Now that we have finished our preparations, let’s dig into the episode.

So, here we go again. Atlantis, the story that never seems to go away, or maybe a more accurate description would be "the idea of a story that never goes away." Because that is, as we will learn, maybe one of the main issues with the story is that people are talking about their beliefs about what Plato wrote rather than what Plato actually wrote. 

Because this is what Jimmy Corsetti and so many others before him have done if you're unfamiliar with Jimmy, he hosts a Youtube channel called BrightInsights6; note that the name will be a bait and switch. Jimmy has a degree in communication and has been working as a theft/fraud investigator. This work background may be ironic since he has fallen for Hancock and Randall Carlson's less-than-credible ideas. I'm unsure how Jimmy got into all this, but let's review his videos and see if we can get through and maybe even change some minds. Jimmy seems to be an intelligent person who has fallen for some wrong ideas. But enough about Corsetti for now, and let's see if there's any truth to Jimmy Corsetti's claims about the Richat Structure being the location of Atlantis.

Historical Sources

But where do we begin an investigation of a claim like this? The most obvious place would be to see if the account is credible. How would a historian or archaeologist approach this? First, we would see if there are any primary sources for this. What do we mean by a primary source, then? Shortly summarized, it could be described that this is an original account created during or immediately after an event. It can come in several different forms, shapes, and content, but often it's split up into two categories. The first is manuscripts, these are writings that were not intended for public print and are often handwritten, and if circulated, it was on a tiny scale. It's often things like letters and journals, but even a laundry list would end up in this section.

Secondly, we have published sources; these are intended for public consumption and have been circulated for people to read the content. Here we put news, documentation, debates, memoirs, or public addresses from the states. Something worth considering with these sources is that they have been edited and often have an agenda we must consider when reviewing them. That does not mean a manuscript is free from agendas, but they can be more raw since the author wrote them with a sense of privacy. 

As an archaeologist, I'd be inadequate if I forgot to mention here that we also have artifacts and excavations that serve as primary sources. Excavation can also be noteworthy since it can corroborate what both primary and secondary sources are telling us. 

We always want to use primary sources in research and when we want to learn how and why an event took place. This might not be possible for several reasons, but we can use secondary sources. These often include books, articles, essays, or other mediums. The difference is that these are not original accounts and usually have been selected from different sources to interrogate the past. Here it's also essential to try and see if the author mainly relies on primary or secondary sources. So for a book, a good rule of thumb is that the broader the book's scope, the more secondary sources the author has used.

Robert Williams has a great example in his book "The Historians Toolbox," where he brought up The Wannsee Protocol. This account was documented by Adolf Eichmann during the Wannsee Conference in 1942 and discussed the Final Solution. We have the original document left from World War II stored in Germany. But this is an obvious example of a primary source. It was written by someone who attended the conference while it took place. A secondary source would be any book that uses this document to tell the history of the Holocaust. The secondary source uses the original to interpret an event and tell us about it within a context.

But even if we have the source material right in front of us, there's a critical question we must ask ourselves. Something that will become clearer as we go. Any historian worth their salt must ask themselves what the document's purpose was. Why was it written? Why was it published? We need to have these questions in mind and then proceed with a good amount of skepticism toward the material.

So how many primary sources do we have on Atlantis? The answer might shock you, but we have zero primary sources according to the abovementioned specifications. You might be surprised by this, but even Plato state that Critias the Older got the information from Dropides during a story competition. Dropides got it from Solon, who heard the story from an Egyptian priest. If we assume the events in Timaeus and Critias to be factual, there were no primary sources of the story. Some of you might object here, claiming there are other sources for Atlantis. I hear you, and I believe you are gabbing about Hellanicus of Lesbos's poem "Atlantis."

While Hellanicus predates Plato by almost a hundred years, the poem is not about the fantastic city of Atlantis. The poem was found among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, within volume 11, with designation 1359. This is a collection of papyri found at the turn of the previous century at what's known today as Al-Bahnasa. The poem is a literary work about the titan Atlas's daughters. You can read the translations and the original online; you don't have to take my word for it. So this poem is not of any help if you want to prove that the city of Atlantis exists.

Some might now yell into the void that authors after Plato talk about Atlantis. That is, of course, true, but the thing they have in common is that they all refer to the same work by Plato. They don't add any other secondary or primary sources but essentially repeat what Plato wrote in Timaeus and Critias. So our only source is Plato, which is not a primary source. When it comes to the historical method, we want to see as many separate accounts as possible of an event. The more we have, the more likely it is to occurred. We would also want to see that the report is close in time, but according to Plato, it's 9000 years between the event and the writing of it down. As we will see going forward, there's no archaeological evidence. So with the historical method in mind, the case for Atlantis looks bleak.

Platos intent 

Here we are with one single source or two if you want to define Timaeus and Critias as two accounts. I would not since the author and story are the same. We should now ask ourselves if Plato intended this to be a historical account, and here, I'd say there is a good case for it not being the case. Plato has never been much of a historian in his writings. While he used historical figures and events, they were often adapted to prove Plato's point. Something we saw, for example, in the case of Gyges ring in episode 39.

It is not only history Plato used in his writings to prove a point but also disciplines such as cosmology and the creation of man. I don't see Jimmy Corsetti or Hancock argue that the creation story in Timaeus is an accurate description. I don't really believe that Plato intended it to be taken as a literal description. He is using it to explain thoughts he brought up in the Republic. As I mentioned in episode 40, where we read the next book in the supposed trilogy, this takes place the evening after the dialogue in the Republic. If you read them carefully, Timaeus and Critias are filled with throwbacks to the Republic.

For example, in The Republic, Socrates talks about the different sciences and how they are different. Socrates suggests a new way for mathematicians and astronomists to approach science to correctly grasp the principle and, ultimately, the greater good. By correcting the mistake of not forming a hypothesis and moving toward a dialectic approach, this science can evolve into a study of being itself. The whole idea of cosmology in Timaeus is to demonstrate that the highest form of principle is not only a principle of mere being but also a principle of coming into being. We learn that cosmology principles are fundamental in learning about the world we can see around us. 

This is a spark note version of Plato's approach in Timaeus. If you are interested in this, I highly recommend reading Thomas Johansen's essay "The Timaeus on the Principles of Cosmology" or the book "Cosmos and Perception in Plato's Timaeus" by Mark Kalderon. As you might note, there's a lot more to this topic than I've covered now, but I'd argue that this is sufficient to demonstrate that this is not meant as a literal account. At the beginning of Critias, as we heard last time, Timeus even say, "I offer my prayer to the god who has just been created in my speech (though, of course, he was created long ago, in fact)." Hinting at the Greek story tradition where multiple accounts of the gods can exist and simultaneously be true for the sake of the story at hand. 

So is the narrative in Critias to be taken as a literal historical account? Again we can find the answer by looking closely at the text; if we read the beginning of Timaeus carefully, we will see that Socrates is asking the attendees to place the perfect state of the Republic in a war against an equal foe. Socrates states, "That was why, once I'd delivered the account I'd been instructed to give, I gave you in your turn the assignment I'm now asking you to carry out."

It is here Hermocrates claims that Critias just so happens to know a story that would fit the assignment at hand. So Critias tells the story about Atlantis as he heard it as a ten-year-old boy during a storytelling festival told by his then 90-year-old grandfather Critias, the Elder. Critias the Elder heard it from his father, Dropsides II, who in turn heard it from Solon, which Plato described as a friend and relative, even if this connection might be a bit dubious. Solon, in turn, heard it while in Egypt by a priest. We will return to Solon shortly.

But with all this in mind, it's hard to argue that Plato was serious about this being a literal account. Atlantis is a mere plot device, the evil empire to be bested by Socrates' perfect society. Plato lived in a society of stories, theater, and poetry; would it be strange to borrow from these art forms? He was someone who was quite masterful in the art of rhetoric. Why Plato is adding all these details into the story is to make different points and to give the bad guys a reason for their wickedness. 

Take, for example, the difference between Athens and Atlantis from a geological perspective. Athens is made out of just Earth, a stable element that helps the city stay on course and endure. Compare this to Atlantis, where Poseidon mixes Earth and water, creating an unstable mixture. Do you remember Atlantis had two springs, one hot and one cold? Another hint is that Poseidon can't create the stability and balance of the far wiser Athena and Hephaestus. Athens only has one spring that has the same temperature all year round, and that keeps the balance in order. 

We also learn about the origin of their depravity; if you recall, in the previous episode, we learned that the downfall of Atlantis was the diluted blood. Note that a dilution can't happen if there's nothing there to dilute with, and of course, it's how Atlantis opened up to trade and let the foreigners in. As time went by, the spirit of Poseidon grew weaker, leaving room for imperialism and greed to grow. This is not a story about civilization but a warning of the issues Plato and probably other Athenians saw in their society today. Why spend the entirety of "the Republic," building this perfect society on paper when there was a historical example all along?

So in a sense, there's no need to search for Atlantis since this was never a location Plato wrote about as a literal place. It was a thought experiment and fiction, not intended to be taken seriously. 

What about Solon?

But what about Solon, the wise Sage who is the source, according to the text, of the account? Plato does use Solon to lend credibility to his story, the same with placing the origin in the written records of Ancient Egypt. However, this is a bit ironic, as we will note. 

From the start, there is an issue with Plato's description of Solon's journey to Egypt. Suppose you are familiar with the account of Solon provided by Herodutus. In that case, you know Solon traveled to Egypt after providing Athens with its laws. Solon took upon himself a journey where he traveled as a wise sage in his own right. This is specified in Histories, book one, chapter 29. But Plato has it the other way around; you see in Timeaus, we learned that Solon traveled to Egypt before creating the laws. In Plato's account, Solon is not yet the scholar he is destined to be, but is in need of a cure for his ignorance. Platos Solon even tries to impress the Egyptian priests with some knowledge of genealogy just to be corrected and learn of his ignorance. 

The Solon in Plato differs from other sources but shares many characteristics with another historical person Herodotus wrote about. In Histories, book two, chapter 143, we learn about Herodotus' predecessor, Hecataeus of Miletus. However, this is not a flattering account but rather a scathing story about the flaws in Hecataeus methods. Platos Solon seems to share the same journey and are using Hecataeus's methodology. Both the characters go to Egypt to find answers to their questions and are more or less described as students when doing this and making fools out of themselves. 

Something that should maybe cause a bit of concern with someone familiar with the corpus of Plato is how the Egyptian priests are portrayed. The way the priests deconstruct the myths was criticized by Plato (or Socrates in Phaedrus, especially in chapter 229, where Socrates and Phaedrus discuss monsters and how they might look. Plato also writes in Timaeus that the Egyptian priests were reading from written records. Something that Plato in Phaedrus chapters 274e to 275b scathingly criticizes. He states that writing is not for learning; it's merely for jogging memory and will not create knowledge from themselves. He writes, "You

provide your students with the appearance of intelligence, not real intelligence." So reading about the priests with a deeper understanding of the body of work, the priests almost become symbols for a false appearance. So the priests should not be viewed as authority figures but as hints toward earlier lessons.

Plato doesn't want you to read texts to become vise; he wants you to learn through discussion and learning by listening. What we're told here are lessons on how not to learn history, according to Plato, and the real lesson is not learning the details but the meaning of the texts. 

Inspiration for Atlantis

Some of you might sit there asking yourself, alright, so maybe it was not a literal account. But could Plato maybe have taken some inspiration from real civilization and just changed a few things? I'm not going to say that this is something impossible, but so far have, this approach had the same luck as the ones trying to find the location of Atlantis.

The Greeks were quite a young culture when they started expanding, and Plato knew this. The Greek civilization was young but still an excellent second to the great Egypt. So Plato would be well aware that there were other civilizations before Greece, and many of them met an end before Greece entered the scene. But for a civilization to be an inspiration, it must match the text to a great extent. Otherwise, we might have to classify those Hallmark movies "based on true events" as literal accounts. 

The civilization most often suggested as an inspiration is the Minoan culture out of Crete. On the surface, it looks like it could be a match, but as usual, it all starts to fall apart when you look closer at the claim. That the origin of Atlantis could be the Minoans is not a new claim but dates back to the early 20th century. 

In 1900 Sir Arthur Evans started to excavate on the island of Knossos with two forepersons and 32 workers. After just a few months, Evans had uncovered large parts of a palace he referred to as the Palace of Minos. With this initial discovery, the Minoan civilization had been discovered, and it was clear that it had been powerful. While the term palace might be a bit of a misnomer, a more accurate description might be that these are complexes with workshops, food processing, storage, and religious and civil administration.

But just a few years after this discovery, an anonymous letter was sent to the British newspaper Times, which published it in 1909 titled "The Lost Continent." In this article, the anonymous author argues that the recently discovered palaces on Knossos were evidence that the Atlantis story originated within Mediterranean history and that the Minoan culture was Atlantis. This author would turn out to be historian K.T. Frost who 1913 published a paper in "The Journal of Hellenic Studies" expanding on the idea. 

Fast forwarding to 1939, a Greek archaeologist named Spyridon Marinatos suggested in an article in Antiquity that the eruption of the Vulcan Thera could be the cause for the Minoan's destructions. In the past, there had been suggestions that Atlantis' destruction was inspired by the Thera eruption. Marinatos would later combine the Thera eruption with Atlantis in an article he published in 1950. However, since it was written in Greek, it only got a little spread before being translated and republished in 1969. According to Marinatos, the Minoan culture's demise was tied to Thera's eruption. This collapse would have survived in the Greeks' minds and been the origin of the Atlantis story. This is similar to the ideas presented by Luis Figuer in 1872, except that Figuer did not have a culture to tie this idea to.

The eruption of Thera was so significant that it would have affected the weather across Europe and maybe even as far as California. So this would have been a significant eruption similar to Mount Tamboras's explosion in 1815. The effects of this led to 1816 being called the year without a summer, creating agricultural disasters across the globe. Theras eruption would undoubtedly have affected the Minoan people since it occurred between 1639 and 1616 BCE based on datings performed by William Freidrich. The issue is not that it happened but that the Minoan culture existed for hundreds of years after. Most scholars today believe the collapse would have been around 1320 BCE. With this in mind, it's hard to argue that there is a clear connection between Atlantis's cataclysmic end and the Minoans.  

In his book "Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries," Dr. Ken Feder points out that large chunks of the story must be altered to make the Minoan theory fit the description in Plato's script. Feder counted all testable archaeological accounts in Plato's writing and compared these to the Minoan culture. He could find six testable claims in Timeaus and 47 in Critias. Of these testable claims, 80% did not match Plato's description and the Minoan archaeological record. Only one is a precise match, and it's that Atlantis and Minoan complexes must have been a marvel to behold, but it's on the verge of being pointless, as Feder points out. Then some match with some special pleading and other cases where we just don't know. 

So with all this in mind, does it really make sense to ask where Atlantis was located? According to Plato's teaching, it does not, and no credible evidence has been presented yet. Before we try to answer a question, we should ensure the question makes sense. But we have spent quite some time not dealing with Corsetti's ideas that he presents in his YouTube videos. So let's see what he has to offer. 

The Jimmy Corsetti Mistake 

As we have seen, claiming to have found the location of Atlantis is to miss the point of a bit of Plato's story. But Jimmy Corsetti claims to have found what he believes is Atlantis's actual location, the  Richat Structure. The issue is that you can throw a dart on a world map. Wherever it lands, the likelihood of someone claiming it to be the location of Atlantis is quite significant. People have suggested places all over the world to be the inspiration or location of Atlantis. My favorite claims are Olaus Rudbeck, who 1679 suggested Gamla Uppsala in Sweden be Atlantis. We also have a Finnish tour guide or excentric Ior Bock, who claimed Atlantis to be in Finland. 

Just because there are numerous claims of Atlanti's location, this does not invalidate Corsetti's claims. But it does raise a bit of a red flag when we encounter these types of claims. Suppose Sweden, Bahamas, Malta, America, and India are possible locations. In that case, something is a bit off since they are so incredibly different. 

To be fair, Corsetti did not come up with this idea; he repeats claims by George S. Alexander and Natalis Rosen made in their 2018 documentary "Visiting Atlantis." I went with Corsetti's video because it's publicly available on YouTube and has a more extensive spread. 

Jimmy Corsetti is also influenced by Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson, spending quite some time linking Atlantis with the Younger Dryas Impact idea. We have yet to deal with YDI, but it will happen later when I solve some things. But even if the event were true, it would not change much. We have a lot of data from the period and know that chance of an advanced society matching Plato's description during this time is slim to none. But yes, we can't shake the ghost of Hancock of us yet.

But let's look at the claims themselves. Corsetti claims that the Richat Structure is a good fit because it has concentric rings. This is true; the formation that consists of an eroded dome has sedimentary rock visible that looks like rings. We know quite a lot of the site's geology that has been known since at least the 1940s. The dome was what I can find first described in a journal by the Frenchman Richard-Molard in 1948. Later the French naturalist Théodore Monod launched an expedition in the 1950s resulting in further publications on the area. In the beginning, the Richat Dome was often referred to as Richât Crater; for some time, there was an idea that it was formed by a meteoric impact. 

We today know a lot about how the structure was formed. In 2005, for example, Matton et al. published a paper clearly demonstrating the formation of the dome and the geological processes involved. Now I'm not a geologist, and I'm sure I'd butcher an explanation of the processes for hydrothermal infill and magmatism in the structure and how hydrothermal fluidization caused dissolving in the dome. The structure has been dated with Argon dating to be formed around 98.2 ± 2.6 million years ago. 

But say the least, we know quite a bit about the geological process in the area. All this makes Corsetti's statement that "In fact, the Richat structure wasn't even discovered until the Gemini 4 mission in 1965, and is now a common landmark utilized by astronauts." a bit odd, to say the least. Since Jimmy Corsetti doesn't give his sources for the video, I can't say where he got this. I can only tell you that this is entirely wrong. Something that makes his explanation of the formation even weirder because he gets the process almost correct. Except he says that this can't be proven. I suspect that Corsetti has not read any of the studies on the dome but repeats secondary sources that leave information out—showing us that we can all be victims of fraud and the importance of checking the sources and asking experts for their input. 

Is there more evidence that fits Plato's narrative? Well, according to Corsetti, it seems to be the case. "It just so happens that the diameter of its outer circle is approximately 23.5 kilometers, or 14.5 miles, which is basically equivalent to the size and dimensions provided by Plato when converting from stadia to modern measurements. For example, the circular island of Atlantis was described as being 127 stadia."

I'm not sure what translation Corsetti using. Still, from my translations, I get the following measurements, The first ring of water is three stadia. We have the first landmass, that's also three, then we have the second ring of water and land that are two stadia each. The third ring of water is one stadia wide, and the inner island's diameter is five stadia. So counting from the first ring of land, we have a diameter of 21 stadia; if we include the first ring of water, we get 27 stadia. Translating this to metrics, we have 4,2 kilometers or roughly 2,6 miles. This is not near the claim made by Corsetti; again, I can't find where he might have gotten it. I assume the Atlantis documentary, but everything written about it leads back to his video. At least we can now put this claim to rest since it does not match the only source we have.

I don't want to appear as someone who nitpicks, so I'll gloss over the mountain range Corsetti matches Plato's description since it does not matter. We can find mountains all over that would be able to match. The same with the inlet; we are told that there is what could be described as an inlet to the south. But looking at a map, the part pointed out is a bit more to the southwest. 

Sea levels, land rise, and geography

There are a couple of obvious things that disqualify the Richat Dome as the site of Atlantis that we have not discussed yet. First of all, Plato gives us the island's location in his texts, outside the pillars of Heracles. This is what Greeks called the straight of Gibraltar, and the origin of the name comes from the tenth labor Heracles performed when he went as far west as possible. The Richat structure lies far south of Gibraltar, obviously not outside of it in any sense. Would not the Egyptians, Solon, and even Plato have been able to say south instead of hinting west? It's pretty strange that these people who are supposed to be the wisest of them all get simple cardinal points wrong. Corsetti also quotes Plato, who, according to Jimmy, tells us that Atlantis is now landlocked. I have no idea what translation Corsetti is working from. In the ones I've read, the quote is, "though by now earthquakes have caused it to sink and it has left behind unnavigable mud, which obstructs those who sail there." I would argue that it's hard to sail thru sand; note that Plato claims it's possible to sail in the area but hard to navigate through. 

Furthermore, this geological feature is 500 kilometers or more than 310 miles from the nearest coastline. It's an understatement to say the formation is heavily landlocked, but it's not been close to the ocean at any point in history. But Corsetti claims something rather strange here "And something else we should consider is that the sands of the Sahara actually originate from the sea, an interesting fact that many people are not aware of." So Corsettis idea, or whoever he got this from, is that the sand in Sahara must have been created by the ocean. This a strange statement for several reasons, maybe most obviously since we know quite a deal about how deserts form and the Sahara is not the result of land being underwater. While the Saharas ecosystem looked different in the past, it's never been underwater. Still, neither has it always been a desert. But it was formed by extreme temperature shifts during the night and day that break the rocks. Add the lack of rain and erosion of the topsoil combined with saltation, a process where winds carry more minor pieces of sand and create sand dunes. The process might vary slightly depending on what desert we're looking at. Still, as for the Sahara, this would be the primary process. 

While the seawater might not have reached the Richat Structure, a large river once flowed through the Sahara. In 2019, O'hara et al. published a paper describing the Trans-Saharan Seaway. This was a large river flowing from the middle of what we know today as Algeria, down through east Mali, and then exiting in east Nigeria and around Benin. This seaway was almost 50 meters deep in some places and contained a wide array of sea life. This river was possible due to the global sea level at the time, which was about 300 meters above today's levels. It might be good to add that this existed during the Late Cretaceous era, meaning it existed some 100 - 66 million years ago. I would like to make you aware of the fact that even when the sea levels were this high, Richat Dome would still be 500 km from the coastline. According to the data I've found, the coast has mostly stayed the same for millions of years. This area has never been close to any more extensive body of water during a time when humans existed. 

Corsetti is throwing numbers around trying to make his idea of a water-covered Sahara, combining land rise and sea levels with numbers that I have no idea where he got them from. Some areas indeed see an annual land rise; for example, Scandinavia, due to it having been pushed down by the giant glaciers, has seen a land rise. We know how large it has been historically and can use this data to calculate in software like ArcGIS, where the coastlines have been. Mainly since we find harbors and other things associated with the sea inland where it should not have been. But this process is not something we see in Africa since the giant glaciers did not push the continent down. Corsetti is making the same mistakes as Hancock; they looked at a graph and then tried to apply the data without completely comprehending it. 

Archaeology in the Richat Structure

Then we have the archaeological evidence, and there have been excavations, especially since there have been finds of Acheulean industries within the outer parts of the Richat dome. Acheulean is a type of hand axe technology that's maybe most associated with Homo Erectus but was used by Neanderthals too, but the technology disappeared around 130 000 years ago. Then there are finds of your typical Neolithic Saharan arrowheads and later iron spearheads in the area. Something we would expect from hunting and other activities. 

I must admit that the archaeology in the area seems relatively sparse, but from the excavations and surveys, nothing indicates a city like Atlantis existed here. Just think about the artifacts that should still be here if Plato's description was accurate. In the account, he tells us that each ring had a thick wall coated in a metal layer, and each ring had a different metal. Just imagine how sturdy such a wall must have been. Then we have the buildings, the roads, the harbors, the metalwork, masonry, and all the other things we could find. Imagine how much food and waste a city like this would produce. I've excavated relatively small settlements, and even there, we find almost a literal ton of bones from animals, broken pottery, and other waste people leave behind. Nothing of this has been found in the Richat structure or its vicinity. Corsetti uses a bit of special pleading here, claiming that these things are not left due to Atlantis's destruction. But it's hard to believe that even a flash flood would not leave a foundation behind but spare Acheulean tool deposits and Neolithic arrowheads. Arrowheads that might have been contemporary with Atlantis itself. 

After spending quite some time investigating Atlantis and the Richat structure, I think there's not much left of Corsetti's evidence. When being looked at through a neutral lens, each claim was disproven. I believe this might be Jimmy's most prominent issue; he is not going out looking for the truth. He, just like Hancock and others, picks an idea and then starts to select data confirming their beliefs. Things that don't confirm their idea is set to the side and ignored, or even worse, altered. As I mentioned, Corsetti does bring up some of the things I've told you today, but often without context or has made significant changes to the facts. He even rewrites Plato's words so the story will fit his ideas. So I hope you, Jimmy, listen to or read this and rethink your approach. Or even better, you put out a correction. I'd be happy to help you with that and give any support I can. 

On that bombshell, we will close out the episode. 

But till then, remember to leave a positive review anywhere you can, such as iTunes, Spotify, or to your friend at the trench. I would also recommend visiting to find more info about me and the podcast. You can also find me on most social media sites, and if you have comments, corrections, suggestions, or just want to write an email in all caps, you can find my contact info on the website.

You will find all the sources and resources used to create this podcast on our website. You will often also find further reading suggestions if you want to learn more about the subjects we bring up.

Sandra Marteleur created the intro music, and our outro is by the band called Trallskruv, who sings their song "tin foil hat." Links to both these artists will be found in the show notes.

Sources, resources, and further reading suggestions

Brundage, A. (2018). Going to the Sources : a Guide to Historical Research and Writing. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

DIETZ, R.S., FUDALI, R. and CASSIDY, W. (1969). Richat and Semsiyat Domes (Mauritania): Not Astroblemes. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 80(7), p.1367. doi:[1367:rasdmn];2

Feder, K.L. (2020). Frauds, myths, and mysteries : science and pseudoscience in archaeology. 10th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fine, G. ed., (1999). Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fine, G. ed., (2011). The Oxford handbook of Plato. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Foley, J.A., Coe, M.T., Scheffer, M. and Wang, G. (2003). Regime Shifts in the Sahara and Sahel: Interactions between Ecological and Climatic Systems in Northern Africa. Ecosystems, 6(6), pp.524–532. doi:

Friedrich, W.L., Kromer, B., Friedrich, M., Heinemeier, J., Pfeiffer, T. and Talamo, S. (2006). Santorini Eruption Radiocarbon Dated to 1627-1600 B.C. Science, 312(5773), pp.548–548. doi:

Frost, K.T. (1913). The Critias and Minoan Crete. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 33, pp.189–206. doi:

Frost, K.T. (2007). The Lost Continent. In: The Atlantis Story: a Short History of Plato’s Myth. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, pp.171–182.

Gill, C. (1979). Plato and Politics: The Critias and the Politicus. Phronesis, [online] 24(2), pp.148–167. Available at:

Giresse, P., Sao, O. and Henry de Lumley (2012). Étude paléoenvironnementale des sédiments quaternaires du Guelb er Richât (Adrar de Mauritanie) en regard des sites voisins ou associés du Paléolithique inférieur. Discussion et perspectives. L’Anthropologie, 116(1), pp.12–38. doi:

Griffiths, J.G. (1985). Atlantis and Egypt. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, [online] 34(1), pp.3–28. Available at:

Gunn, S. and Faire, L. (2016). Research methods for history. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Herodutus (1922). The Histories. [online] Translated by A.D. Godley. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Available at:

Hollmann, A. (2015). Solon in Herodotus. Trends in Classics, 7(1). doi:

Lampert, L. and Planeaux, C. (1998). Who’s Who in Plato’s ‘Timaeus-Critias and Why’. The Review of Metaphysics, [online] 52(1), pp.87–125. Available at:

Marinatos, Sp. (1939). The Volcanic Destruction of Minoan Crete. Antiquity, 13(52), pp.425–439. doi:

Matton, G. and Jébrak, M. (2014). The ‘eye of Africa’ (Richat dome, Mauritania): An isolated Cretaceous alkaline–hydrothermal complex. Journal of African Earth Sciences, [online] 97, pp.109–124. doi:

Matton, G., JeĢbrakM. and Lee, J.D. (2005). Resolving the Richat enigma: Doming and hydrothermal karstification above an alkaline complex. Geology, 33(8), pp.665–668. doi:

Mcdowell, B. (2013). Historical Research. New York: Routledge.

Mikalson, J. (2010). Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Monod, T. (1952). Les accidents crateriformes ou circulaires du Sahara Occidental. Bull. Dir. Mines, Gouvt. Gen. Afrique Occidentale, Francaise, Dakar, 15, 169-177.

Morgan, K.A. (2015). Solon in Plato. Trends in Classics, 7(1). doi:

Naddaf, G. (1994). The Atlantis Myth: An Introduction to Plato’s Later Philosophy of History. Phoenix, 48(3), p.189. doi:

O’leary, M.A., Bouaré, M.L., Claeson, K.M., Heilbronn, K., Hill, R.V., Mccartney, J., Sessa, J.A., Sissoko, F., Tapanila, L., Wheeler, E. and Roberts, E.M. (2019). Stratigraphy and Paleobiology of the Upper Cretaceous-Lower Paleogene Sediments from the Trans-Saharan Seaway in Mali. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 2019(436), p.1. doi:

Ortencio Flores, S. (2013). The Roles of Solon in Plato’s Dialogues. [Dissertation] Available at:

Pass, D.B. (2021). History and Philosophy in the Interpretation of Plato’s Critias. TAPA, 151(1), pp.69–99. doi:

Plato (1892). Critias. Translated by B. Jowett. Oxford University Press.

Plato (1944). The Timaeus and the Critias Or Atlanticus. Translated by T. Taylor. Washington DC: Bollingen Foundation, pp.229–249.

Plato (1998). The Republic. [online] Translated by B. Jowett. Project Gutenberg. Available at:

Plato (2000). Timaeus. Translated by D.J. Zeyl. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co.

Plato (2002). Phaedrus. Translated by R. Waterfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Plato (2004). Republic. Translated by C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co.

Plato (2008). Timaeus and Critias. Translated by R. Waterfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.101–121.

Plato (2014). Plato : Timaeus and Critias. Translated by A.E. Taylor. London: Routledge.

Richard-Molard, J. (1948). Boutonniere de Richat en Adrar Mauritanien. Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci., Paris, 227, 142-143.

Richard-Molard, J. (1952). La pseudo-boutonnière du Richât. Grande imprimerie africaine.

Santas, G. (2010). Understanding Plato’s Republic. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.

Sao, O., Giresse, P., de Lumley, H., Faure, O., Perrenoud, C., Saos, T., Rachid, M.O. and Touré, O.C. (2008). Les environnements sédimentaires des gisements pré-acheuléens et acheuléens des wadis Akerdil et Bamouéré (Guelb er-Richât, Adrar, Mauritanie), une première approche. L’Anthropologie, [online] 112(1), pp.1–14. doi:

The Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing and Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (n.d.). P.Oxy. 8 1084 - Princeton, University Library AM 4096. [online] Available at:

Topolski, J. (1981). Conditions of Truth of Historical Narratives. History and Theory, 20(1), p.47. doi:

Versnel, H.S. (1990). Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion Ter Unus. Liden: Brill.

Vitaliano, D.B. (1971). Atlantis: A Review Essay. Journal of the Folklore Institute, 8(1), p.66. doi:

Welliver, W. (2016). Character, Plot and Thought in Plato’s Timaeus and Critias. Leiden: Brill.

West, S. (1991). Herodotus’ Portrait of Hecataeus. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 111, pp.144–160. doi:

Williams, R.C. (2015). The historian’s toolbox : a student’s guide to the theory and craft of history. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.


“Folie hatt” by Trallskruv

Lily of the woods by Sandra Marteleur